Amauri Gutiérrez Coto



(Cuba – USA)




When Everyone Has Died


When everyone has died

I don’t know if I’ll be able to shoulder

the weight of so much Dead Sea.

Or if I’ll be able to sit

and deliver homilies on days long ago

or on the debris that rests holy

before their pending gaze.


When those who hold

their homeland in their entrails,

in their closed fists

have gone away,

I doubt if I’ll be able to give

the final inhabitants

of those islands

what we expect today

of those who precede us.


I feel the future

reconciling with me,



unable to ask myself again.


All you teachers

of today

will leave me alone


giving the impression

of a certainty

I do not possess

and may never have.


Do not leave me alone,

go with me,

do not let go of my hand

I’m afraid of losing my way.




Tattoo on White Skin


Verses written to be tattooed on the white skin

not of winters but of your back, your torso, your arms,

black lines without beginning or end, written in an alphabet

that no one understands, verses in Cyrillic or in ancient Aramaic,

Sanskrit, Basque, Mayan, Aymara, Cantonese, Korean.


I want to fill your white skin with scribbling

practice the writing of long ago

that I learned in my classes


I want to write in the air without feeling like I lack space

let me to fill you with all knowledge

let me to invent for myself all dialects




Sister Margaret, After Reading Just Love


To know a different man named Paul

or to reread the passage on Sodom and Gomorrah

with someone else’s eyes

ignites a new flame

in my pupils.


Sister Margaret, your email transfigures

my office, the shelves lined with books,

my pens and pencils

my students’ compositions,

the clock that swells toward Havana

and its once busy Alameda.


Sister Margaret, I return to the ebook

after having underlined in pink,

and red and orange and yellow

and green and turquoise and blue and violet.

There are no more colors for another rereading,

I return time and again to the pages

that reconcile letters from the past.


Tradition opens like a veil

and I sense the smell of the Aegean Sea

suffocating my office.











Poet and essayist Amauri Gutiérrez Coto (Ciudad de La Habana, 1974) holds a Licenciatura en Letras from the University of Havana and a Master of Arts from New Mexico State University, where he is completing a PhD in Hispanic Literature. He has published three book-length essays, Acerca de lo negro y la africanía en la lengua literaria de Motivos de Son (Pinar del Río, 2002), Polémica literaria entre Gastón Baquero y Juan Marinello (Sevilla, 2005 y Lexington, 2011) y Orígenes y el paraíso de la eticidad (Santiago de Cuba, 2012), as well as two collections of poetry, Diario de un intruso (Pinar de Río, 2002) and Aprendiz de mudo (Madrid, 2013).




 George Henson is a translator of Latin American and Spanish prose and verse. His work has previously appeared in World Literature Today, The Kenyan Review, The Literary Review, and Puerto del Sol, and include works by Miguel Barnet, Andrés Neuman, Elena Poniatowska, Alberto Chimal, and Raquel Castro. His book-length translations include Elena Poniatowska’s The Heart of the Artichoke and Luis Jorge Boone’s The Cannibal Night. He is currently translating the memoir The Art of Flight by Mexican Sergio Pitol. George lives in Dallas, where he teaches Spanish at the University of Texas at Dallas.

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